veg of the week – blackberry

Blackberries

It seems everywhere I look these days there are brambles bursting with beautiful ripe blackberries…meaning I now need to schedule in an extra 5 minutes everywhere I go so I can allow for some blackberry snacking time.

These tangy berries are in season from September through October, and despite costing around 1 pound for a punnet at tesco, they are usually cheaper and in abundance at farmers markets and green grocers around this time of year. Or you could always pick some yourself for free!

Keep an eye out for some of our own blackberry creations this week, but in the meantime here’s a little blackberry appreciation for you with the internet’s finest recipes, and this lovely tune from Laura marling here

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Conveniently vegan chocolate mousse

vegan-chocolate-mousse

Putting the word ‘vegan’ in front of a type of food usually conjures up images of drier, grainier and generally less appealing versions of foods you love. This dessert will dispel any of those preconceived ideas. It is the vegan-community’s best-kept secret. In fact, it is merely convenient that this recipe is vegan (convenient for your wallet and the planet, that is) because this is genuinely the best recipe for chocolate mousse that I have come across, and it is absolutely coincidentally vegan.

This chocolate mousse is creamier, chocolatier, cheaper, healthier and easier to make than any non-vegan recipe I’ve seen. If you have any ‘vegan-sceptic’ friends, I dare you to give them this mousse and ask them what’s inside. They won’t have a clue that its 75% tofu.

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Chargrilled zucchini & hazelnut salad

zucchini-hazelnut-salad

To follow Monday’s post that shared some delicious ways of preparing zucchini, today I’m going to show you my favourite zucchini recipe, which is the creation of the wonderful chef Yotam Ottolenghi. Zucchini are cheap when in season, and can be grown locally in most parts of northern Europe and other temperate climates. Make sure you check-out your local green grocers or farmer’s market for fresh zucchini, we have found that seasonal vegetables are often cheaper here than in supermarkets.

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Dorm DIY #7 – paper flowers

paper-carnation-flowers-2

Real flowers are a lovely thing to buy to brighten up your room in the warmer months when they’re cheap, local and in season. However, flowers are the same as any other product, and can be unsustainable if imported from far away, grown with lots of harmful pesticides, or are from a company that treats its workers and farmers unfairly. Here’s one of several articles outlining some of the issues around unsustainable flower farming, by ny times.

So rather than spending money on flowers grown in greenhouses, you can make these paper carnations using only muffin liners, straws, tape and paint,  and keep them throughout the whole year. It will only set you back around  ₤1.60 given you already have water based paint handy at home (gouache or ink is good). They’ll last much longer than real flowers, unless your friends decide to steal them for their own rooms!

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veg of the week – zucchini

zucchini

September, and with it zucchini season, is slowly coming to an end. So we’ve decided to make the most of it and choose zucchini as our vegetable of the week. Zucchinis, also known as courgettes, are a summer vegetable that is surprisingly versatile and are easily grown in temperate climates, including Northern Europe and parts of North and South America, Asia and Australia.  When in season, they are relatively cheap and abundant in supermarkets and green grocers.

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Dorm DIY #6 shelf made of books

bookshelf

This is not a DIY project. This is me saying that instead of paying for a cheap, flimsy bookshelf for all your textbooks, you could consider making your books into a shelf. I work in a bookshop and have perfected the technique of book-stacking. Its very simple: put the biggest books on the bottom and pile them up in order of size so the smallest are on the top.

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Dorm DIY #5 – recycled newspaper bunting

newspaper-bunting

Bunting has been trendy for a number of years, but it still manages to make any room cosier and more homely. If your dorm room still feels like a bare prison cell, cheer it up with this quick DIY project that will take care of your paper recycling for you. All you need is some sheets of newspaper (we find that the free copies of the student newspaper are quite useful in this regard), string and glue. I have made this bunting more times than I can remember using leftover wrapping paper, magazine pages or pages from an old book. The possibilities are endless.

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